Anyways, I finally disconnected myself from work and by 4:30 PM I was heading out of Gunnison, once again taking CO135 north; this time heading for the small town of Almont. It is at Almont that one turns East and starts riding along the Taylor Canyon Road.
There was construction delays though for several miles on this road and so it wasn't really that much fun. Once Valencia and I cleared the construction zone though, it was smooth riding until we reached the Taylor Canyon Reservoir. Quite a nice little body of water, with the mountains of the Sawatch Range which are part of the Continental Divide to the North, very scenic spot, even under the heavy gray overcast skies that prevailed throughout the ride.
Valencia "just fit" on the narrow path leading to the sign
describing the far off mountains and the reservoir.
Sawatch Mountain Range
I continued on and after a small settlement, took Forest Road 765 East towards Cumberland Pass. A pretty easy dirt road, washboarded in spots and quite dusty in others but Valencia and I made good speed, holding a steady 35 MPH for the most part.
We came upon the small ex-mining town of Tin Cup and there were a couple of buildings worth posing Valencia next to:
Forest Road 765 continued eastward out of town and started getting steeper and rougher. It was all still quite manageable by Valencia, just very bumpy at times due to the many rocks embedded into the dirt road. Once we were within five miles of the pass, then it was rocky/gravelly/bumpy switchback roads with long straight stretches with a noticeable incline between switchback turns.
I kept Valencia in first gear and kept the revs up above 4000 RPM as well, and didn't experience any issues climbing all the way to the summit of Cumberland Pass. She held a steady indicated 25 mph so figure we were doing about 20 mph all the way up.
12,015 Feet in Altitude, Cumberland Pass
Valencia and I were both having a bit of trouble breathing at this altitude.
A view of the Continental Divide/Sawatch Mountain Range
The valley we'd just climbed out of, the valley itself is around
10,000 feet in elevation.
Having achieved the summit, the descent from Cumberland Pass was cake, simply a matter of keeping it in second gear and using engine braking and slight throttle inputs to keep a nice steady downward progress. The road remained stony and bumpy. I saw several ATVs going up the road towards the summit, they gave me quite the looks, as if in disbelief. :)
The view as one starts the descent towards Pitkin
from the summit of Cumberland Pass
Remnant structures on an old mine site
The road descends pretty gently for the most part and if you can keep a good line avoiding the bigger rocks, you can hold 30 mph most of the way down. Soon, I arrived at the old mining town of Pitkin and more pictures were to be had:
This town lived and died by the Alpine Railroad Tunnel,
once that was closed, so did the town wither.
Ye Olde Post Office
Pitkin's City Hall
1904, Pitkin's last remaining hotel I think
(It's for sale)
Pitkins Assayer's Office
Continuing onwards, now on paved roads, I came onto the small town of Ohio city, named for the nearby river I believe.
Ohio City's City Hall
From Pitkin, it was about 28 miles of pavement back to US50 and Gunnison. It was quite late by now, closing in on 8:00 PM and you know what that means, the deer were coming out. I must have seen three in quick succession just sound of Pitkin and rode accordingly.
I didn't spot any more deer waiting to jump out from the roadside trees and heavy underbrush but still kept my speed to the posted limit in spite of wanting to get to Gunnison and dinner. I made it to Gunnison and had a steak dinner at the Ole Miner Steakhouse. Strongly recommend this restaurant, good steak!
It was dark by the time I returned to the campsite, still a very nice ride again, well worth the tiredness.